What's your number?Article added by Stephen Forman on January 2, 2012
Stephen D. Forman (LTCA)

Stephen Forman

Bellevue, WA

Joined: February 07, 2011

Stop. Don’t start any marketing activities until you answer this question: Why is a senior or their family better off buying your product or service than buying from your competitor?

​Because my company runs one of the largest and most vibrant insurance conversations on Twitter, I am fortunate to meet a number of fascinating and influential individuals from all walks of life. Recently, I was delighted to meet Carolyn Frith, who specializes in marketing to seniors and summarizes some of her salient points on her blog.

One of the questions she poses matters not whether you are a long term care insurance producer, a financial advisor or a mattress salesman. It's fundamental.

She writes, "Stop. Don’t start any marketing activities until you answer this question: Why is a senior or their family better off buying your product or service than buying from your competitor?"

Unsurprisingly, you and I and everyone else probably jumped to fill the silence by shouting out, "Our service."

As Carolyn points out, this can be a problematic point of differentiation when we are all saying the same thing. Here's my take: As an FMO who deals primarly in long term care insurance, I've observed plenty of my competitors trumpet their sales achievements ($10 million in new premium sold), or their growth (250 percent year-over-year sales), or their agents (500 new agents last year), and to that I say, "Nicely done, but..." LTCI is a long-tail product, so no matter what you did last year, there's no substitute for experience.

It's crucial not only to have policyholders in year one of their terms, but also year 20 or more.That's where we found our differentiating factor, and it's in the singular most important part of our industry: claims.

That's where the rubber meets the road and what is of paramount concern to our prospects. They don't care about your sales awards, they care about claims. In that regard, I can boast a pretty substantial record, now entering our fifth decade of LTCI sales.What's more, being able to validate and produce our claims paid statistic is another brand-differentiator for a second reason: it's a dang hard number to run down. I haven't yet found a competitor who's produced this number, and I suspect it's for this very reason.

Having done the leg work a few times, I can say with authority that it's a laborious number to obtain and update. Nevertheless, being able to publicize our claims paid amount turns an amorphous concept of service into a quantifiable number. And so I ask: ProducersWEB caters to a much larger group of life and annuity producers and FMOs than us over on the LTCI tab. What's your most important number? What statistic do you use in order to impress your prospects and/or differentiate yourself from your competitors?

Go back to the top of this article and re-read Carolyn's question. What separates you and can you quantify it in a number, statistic or report that you've managed to acquire which your competitors find difficult? Let the conversation begin.

P.S. To read additional material by Carolyn Frith, you can find her at http://www.carolynfrith.com.
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